It took precise riding and a talented mount to be at the top of the standings during Sunday’s $75,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. Richard Jeffery’s challenging track yielded only two clear rounds, but it set the stage for a speedy jump-off between Meagan Nusz and Reed Kessler. Nusz had all the answers aboard Dynamo to capture the top honors. The duo clocked in just fractions ahead of Kessler, who was also double clear over the short course with Mika to place second.
The first round course of the highlight event bested all but two of the 40 competitors that gathered at the Rolex Stadium. Meagan Nusz was the second rider on course and the first to advance to the jump-off with Dynamo, owned by Amalaya Investments of Houston, TX.
“The course was just really technical,” stated Nusz. “The triple combination got a lot of people. I think that was more of mental game than anything else because you had to come in steady, when normally you want to ride at the triple bar, which was A, but you had to come in a little bit slow because the two was really short. Then you also had to ride out because the one stride was normal, but you had to ride the back rail. In your mind, you just had to stay calm and ride each fence individually.”
The only other clear effort came from Reed Kessler of Lexington, KY, riding her own gelding Mika. “I thought it was a great course,” she expressed. “It’s a $75,000 grand prix, so it should be difficult enough. It was the course designers job to set an appropriate course, and the fact that only two of us rode well enough to clear it is our fault, not his. I was a fan of the course; I did not think it was too hard.”
Both Kessler and Nusz managed to produce a second clear effort during the tiebreaker, separated by only fractions of a second. Nusz was the first to return to the ring and she pulled out all the stops with Dynamo. After finding the perfect distance to the first fence they tried to leave a stride out in the rollback to the next oxer, but when Dynamo backed off they chipped at the large fence. Dynamo still managed to clear the back rail, and Nusz sped to the remaining obstacles, leaving a stride out at the last oxer and breaking the beam at 35.97 seconds.
Kessler was prepared to answer the challenge Nusz presented when she returned riding Mika. They were right on the pace, but added a stride before the skinny vertical. The pair did leave all the rails intact though, and crossed the finish line at 36.30 seconds, just fractions off of Nusz time to settle for second place.
Blythe Marano and Urban, owned by Riverview Farm of Franklin, TN, were the only other horse and rider combination that were able to leave all the fences in place, but they were unable to do so in the time allowed, finishing with one time fault for third. The fastest of the four faulters was Ramiro Quintana of Argentina on St. Bride’s Farm’s Whitney, stopping the clock at 74.46 seconds after lowering the height of the vertical in the middle of the triple combination.
Quitana was followed closely by Canada’s Ian Millar riding Star Power, owned by Team Works of Perth, Ontario. The pair also had an error in the triple combination. Nusz’ trainer Kent Farrington rounded out the top six aboard Zafira, owned by Haity McNerney of Lake Forest, IL, having a rail after the triple combination line before heading home to the gate.
Jumper Highlights (May 8-12):
The top horses and riders from across the country gathered at the Kentucky Horse Park on Wednesday, May 8 for the start of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. The first day of competition kicked off with the Open Jumper divisions in the Rolex Stadium. Olympian Reed Kessler led the way in the 1.45m Open Jumper class aboard Mika with a double clear effort, while the victory in the 1.40m Open Jumper speed class went to Pablo Barrios riding Colgate.
Reed Kessler of Lexington, KY, was the pathfinder over the Richard Jeffrey’s designed course, and she set the bar with her veteran mount Mika. Pushing her mount to open his stride and cut the turns, the duo dashed through the timers in 34.438 seconds. Their clear round was a full three seconds faster than the runner up to take home the top prize.
Canada’s Ian Millar was the next to challenge the young rider’s time with Baranns, owned by The Baranns Group of Perth, Ontario. They also managed to leave all the rails in place, but a time of 37.804 would only be good enough for third. The next pair on course, Hillary Simpson and Nopus Du Gue Joubert, owned by Quiet Hill Farm of Ocala, FL, bested Millar’s time. The pair left all the fences intact, but clocked in at 37.560 seconds to slide into the second place position. The only other duo to complete a double clear round was Andrew Bourns of Wellington, FL, riding Ace High Mike. Stopping the clock at 38.929 earned them the fourth place ribbon.
Just prior to their win, Kessler and Mika were bested by Venezuela’s Pablo Barrios and Colgate during the 1.40m Open Jumper Speed Class. Early in the class, Barrios set the time to beat with his first mount Ambosell at a clear 67.115, which would be good enough for fifth.
Barrios’ original time was eventually beat by Wilton Porter of Bartonville, TX riding Neolisto Van Het Mierenhof, who took home fourth place in 65.349 seconds. It was Mario Gamboa and Unico, owned by Stransky’s Mission Farms of Miami, FL who claimed the third place honors, dashing across the course in a clear 64.723 seconds.
Kessler almost had two blue ribbons when she and Mika galloped over the track in a speedy 63.574. They would have to settle for second though when Barrios took the lead with his second mount Colgate. Leaving out a stride to the last combination, Barrios and Colgate crossed the finish line in a blazing 62.894 seconds to net the victory.
Pablo Barrios also kicked off the 2013 Hagyard Challenge Series with a big win during the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic held on Thursday, May 9.
Topping an 11-horse jump-off in the Rolex Stadium, the duo made a dash for the cash that was uncatchable with a double clear effort in 38.258 seconds. Ireland’s Richie Moloney was right on his heels with Slieveanorra to claim second, while Margie Engle and Indigo took home the third place award.
Margie Engle of Wellington, FL, was the pathfinder over the short course with her veteran mount Indigo, owned by Griese, Garber, Hidden Creek, and Gladewinds. They had a more conservative time going early in the order, leaving all the rails in place and breaking the beam at 42.273 seconds, which was good enough for third place.
Engle was bested by the next duo on course, Richie Moloney riding Slieveanorra for Equinimity LLC of Wellington, FL. Despite having a break between the Winter Equestrian Festival and the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows, the pair was right on the pace, slicing turns and galloping across the ring. The careful mount left all the fences intact and stopped the clock at 38.847 to earn the second place honors.
Moloney’s lead over Engle was short lived when Barrios and Zara Leandra, owned by the ZL Group of Wellington, FL, entered the arena. Making a sharp turn after the combination, and opening his mount’s stride to the last oxer, Barrios jumped to the top of the leader board with a time 38.258 seconds to eventually claim the victory.
“The jump-off was great, it had everything, turns and space to gallop and go fast,” noted Barrios. “I think Richard [Jeffrey] was testing everything. I caught a very nice path from the double combination to the wall. I got there at a sharp angle to help win the class.”
The $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic marked the start of the Hagyard Challenge Series, which features seven grand prix events throughout the spring and summer during which riders compete for valuable points toward the $50,000 Leading Rider Bonus.
Rain and wind proved to be the lucky charm for Kalvin Dobb’s Winde in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers on Friday, May 10. The talented young rider took home top honors in the competitive class at the Rolex Stadium. Earlier in the same day, Aaron Vale also claimed a blue ribbon, piloting Palm Sunday to the fastest double clear effort in the 1.45m Open Jumpers.
During the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers, ten riders managed to advance to the short course. Emanuel Andrade set the time to beat at a clear 33.036 seconds with La Fe Forli, owned by Hollow Creek Farm of Aiken, SC, which would eventually place fourth. Andrade managed to best his own time aboard his second mount for Hollow Creek Farm, Tiny Tim, clocking in at 32.332 seconds for a speedy second place finish. Chloe Reid of Washington, DC, and Damascus claimed the fourth place honors in 34.246, while her second mount Victor E, owned by Candy Tribble of East Windsor, CT, place third in 33.036 seconds.
The fastest of the double clear rounds went to Kalvin Dobbs and Winde, owned by Treesdale Farm of Carmel, IN. The pair picked up a quick gallop and never held back, making sharp turns and easily soaring over all the fences. They dashed through the timers in 31.516 seconds, almost a full second faster than Andrade and Tiny Tim, to earn the winning prize.
The 1.45m Open Jumpers competed earlier in on the day Friday, with four double clear efforts posted. Schuyler Riley was the trailblazer aboard Andretti, owned by Southbeach Stables of Wellington, FL, but in an effort to leave all the rails in place she posted a conservative time of 38.112 seconds that would place fourth. Ian Millar and Baranns, owned by The Baranns Group of Perth, Ontario, were the next to leave all the fences intact, and they took home the third place honors for a time of 36.735.
Aaron Vale and Palm Sunday, owned by Amen Corner Farm of Folsom, LA, were the next to show over the short course and they blew by Millar’s time. They easily maneuvered all the turns and had a nice, open gallop to dash across the finish line in a quick 33.611 seconds. Ireland’s Andrew Bourns and Carmina attempted to best Vale’s time. They were just a touch short of the winning time in 34.478 seconds to claim second place and seal Vale’s victory.
The following morning the jumper competition continued with the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic. Forty-two entries gathered at the Rolex Stadium to compete in the 1.45m Open Jumper event, but when 23 qualified for the tiebreaker the results came down to a foot race. Besting the clock and the course was Kent Farrington aboard Zidane, breaking the beam at 38.879 to take home the winning prize. Ramiro Quintana, riding Largo to second place, followed him, and Emanuel Andrade placed third with Walter 61.
Twenty-three were able to master the first round track, set by Richard Jeffrey, and advance to the jump-off, where speed and accuracy were the keys to winning. Competitors could opt to jump-off directly after their first round or return at the end of the class. Schuyler Riley was one of the riders opting to stay in the ring with Andretti, owned by Southbeach Stables of Wellington, FL. She set the clear pace to beat at 41.468 seconds, but that would only be good enough for eighth place when 17 riders produced double clears.
On the return list, young rider Victoria Colvin and Waminka, owned by Rivers Edge of Wellington, FL, were able to best Riley’s time by breaking the beam in a clear 40.877. Their early lead was short lived though, when Kent Farrington entered the arena with Zidane, owned by Windward Farm of Milford, NJ. They spun through the turns and with a huge open gallop managed to leave out strides and zip through the timers in 38.879 seconds, proving to be the best and claim the victory.
Ramiro Quintana was right on Farrington’s heels with Largo, owned by Maverick ventures LLC of Fox Point, WI, as the next in the ring. The pair stayed right on track and just missed the winning target, clocking in at 38.882 seconds, just 1/100th second short of Farrington for second place. Emanuel Andrade is well known for his quick mounts, including Walker 61 owned by Hollow Creek Farm of Aiken, SC. He was next to challenge and came very close in 39.019 seconds for third.
Hunter Highlights (May 8-12):
Kelley Farmer topped the leaderboard during the first day of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. Farmer swept the field of top hunter riders in both of the day’s High Performance Hunter classes aboard Taken, kicking off the five-days of top-notch hunter competition held throughout the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, May 8-12, 2013 at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Farmer and Taken’s back-to-back scores of 85 secured them the top call over both of the day’s High Performance courses in the Stonelea Ring.
Finishing just behind the experienced Taken in the first class of the High Performance division it was again Farmer, this time aboard green mount Adelmo, owned by Jay Golding of Gordonsville, VA. Farmer and Adelmo earned a score of 84 to take second in the eight-year-old’s High Performance debut. The High Performance divisions provided the ideal opportunity for Farmer to prepare both horses for this weekend’s USHJA Hunter Derbies, which will be held this Saturday, May 11, 2013 in the Rolex Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Also earning a score of 84, were Scott Stewart and Dedication, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA. The pair finished with the red ribbon in the second class of the High Performance division.
Stewart continuously proved to be another dominating force in the professional hunter divisions in the Stonelea Ring, as he swept the Regular Conformation over fences classes aboard Beholden, owned by Fashion Farm of New York, NY. Scores of 87 and 85 had the pair jogging in the first place position just ahead of Jennifer Alfano riding Timber Ridge and Hunt Tosh aboard Cold Harbor who each took the second place position in the first and second classes respectively.
Adding to Stewart’s high placings for the day was Concept, owned by Alexa and Krista Weisman of Sherborn, MA, whom Stewart rode to a first and third place finish in the morning’s Green Conformation Hunter classes.
In the Second Year Green Hunters, the blue ribbon over the first course went to Farmer and On the Hour, owned by Jessica Stitt of Elburn, IL.
Finishing with the top award over the second course of the Second Year Green Hunters were Caroline Weeden and Lucky Times, owned by Old Willow Farms LLC of Northfield, IL.
The professional hunter divisions continued on Thursday, May 9 with the awarding of the division championships. Among the championship winners were Hayley Barnhill and Puppet, owned by John and Stephanie Ingram LLC of Nashville, TN. The pair earned the Second Year Green Hunter division championship, joining Kelley Farmer, Havens Schatt, Scott Stewart and Hunt Tosh on the list of the day’s tricolor award winners.
Barnhill and Puppet soared over the fences in the Stonelea Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park to finish with the blue ribbon over the first Second Year Green Hunter Course and second over the handy course, clinching their position as the leaders of the division.
Finishing in reserve in the Second Year Green Hunter division were Hunt Tosh and Imagine, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Wheeler of Keswick, VA. Imagine is a relatively new mount for Tosh, having just been purchased by the Wheeler’s in the past few months, but the two have seen continued success thus far, including finishing first in the handy class.
In the High Performance Hunter division it was Scott Stewart and Dedication, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, who secured the division’s highest award, with Kelley Farmer and Taken, owned by Jessica Stitt of Elburn, IL, finishing in the reserve position.
With second and third place finishes over Wednesday’s courses, Stewart and Dedication rose to the occasion on Thursday to finish first over both of the High Performance Hunter courses.
Both Stewart’s and Farmer’s names were heard frequently throughout the day’s awards presentations as Stewart was again back at the top of the list with Beholden, owned by Fashion Farm of New York, NY. The pair claimed the championship in the Regular Conformation Hunters, while Farmer finished in reserve in the division with Skorekeeper, owned by Larry Glefke and Quail Run Partnership of Keswick, VA.
The two switched roles in the Green Conformation Hunters where Farmer topped the field with Quotable, owned by Kenneth and Selma Garber and Larry Glefke of Keswick, VA, and Stewart finished in reserve with Concept, owned by Alexa and Krista Weisman of Sherborn, MA. Throughout the winter, Quotable had been extremely successful in the Green Conformation Hunter division with Holly Orlando and proved to continue to be so with Farmer at the reins, earning first over both of the day’s Skip Bailey designed courses.
Farmer secured another division championship with Mythical, owned Kenneth and Selma Garber and Larry Glefke of Keswick, VA, finishing above Havens Schatt and Sans Souci, owned by CH Farm LLC of Delano, MN, in the First Year Green Hunter division.
Spring rain showers did not deter Amateur-Owner Hunter horses and riders from across the country from competing at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show on Friday. The precipitation certainly did not interfere with Glen Senk’s and Dawn Fogel’s mounts, as both riders laid down seamless trips to earn blue ribbons in the Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunter division.
Senk, a New York, NY, was the victor over the first course, designed by Skip Bailey, aboard his mount Declaration. The seasoned veteran earned scores of 84 and 85 over the inviting and appealing fences set in the Stonelea ring, to earn the blue and red ribbons respectively.
Senk works full-time as CEO of David Yurman, so spare riding time is a rare and valuable commodity. With his often-hectic schedule, Senk is extremely grateful to have a horse like Declaration.
“He is amazing. This is his sixth year showing, and he doesn’t really need a rider. In my opinion, he’s the most perfect horse in the world. I can just get on him and point him at the jump. He knows everything. He’ll go rain, snow, sleet – he just doesn’t care,” expressed Senk.
Fogel too is tremendously appreciative of her winning mount, Royal Oak, whom she’s owned for over four years. The duo finished second behind Declaration over the first course, before coming back to win both the second class, with a score of 86, and the under saddle.
As a Louisville, KY, resident, the Kentucky Spring Horse Show presents Fogel with the perfect opportunity to get Royal Oak back in the ring following Florida and before heading north to the Devon Horse Show in Devon, PA. In addition to being relatively close to home, Fogel appreciates the high-quality competition and venue that the horse show provides.
Saturday evening at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show kicked off with the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby at the Rolex Stadium. It marked the first event in the seven-part series presented by Hallway Feeds during the spring and summer, and at the conclusion of the series the Leading Rider Awards for the Series will be presented. Last year’s winner of the Junior Rider Award Shawn Casady has taken the early lead in the series after winning the evening’s class aboard Stars Go Blue, owned by Marigot Bay Farm of Dover, MA. The duo earned scores of 87 and 90 during the two round class to lead the victory gallop.
Kelley Farmer claimed an early lead over the Bobby Murphy designed course with Grayon, owned by Jay Golding of Gordonsville, VA, after scoring an 89 during the first round. They were the last to return in the handy round, delivering a flawless trip until the very last fence which they met a bit deep, resulting in a score of 78. Their total was good enough for the fourth place award.
Havens Schatt jumped up in the standings aboard Kindle, owned by R. Bruce Duchossois of Aiken, SC. The duo had a smooth first round that received an 80 and was ranked 11th. They really showcased their brilliance during the handy round, taking all the inside options for a score of 88 that eventually picked up the third place award.
Jennifer Hannan and veteran mount As Always, owned by Jennifer Smith of Wellington, FL, were in top form for tonight’s event. They also had a solid first round effort, receiving a score of 83 from the judges that had them ranked eighth. With smooth inside turns and very nice trot jump the duo’s efforts was honored with a score of 86 to capture the second place prize.
The best of the best proved to be young rider Shawn Casady with Stars Go Blue. During the first round, Casady piloted the talented gelding to a score of 87 that was ranked third. They returned for the handy round ready to perform and were smooth through all of the turns and jumped crisply over each fence. The judges announced a score of 90 for the excellent performance, vaulting them to the top of the leader board to claim the winning honors.
The $15,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Awards will present a $10,000 cash prize to the professional rider accumulating the most points in the seven classes that make up the series. The amateur rider and junior rider accumulating the most points will each receive a $2,500 cash prize. Riders will receive points only on their highest placed horse in each of the classes. The awards will be presented at the conclusion of the Hallway Feeds class at the Kentucky National Horse Show on September 21, 2013.
Immediately following the Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby Series, fifteen-year-old phenom Victoria Colvin, added both the first and second place finishes in the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Dietrich Insurance, to her ever growing list of impressive accomplishments.
Colvin took the early first round lead aboard Listen, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, with scores of 87 and 86 from the two judging panels combined with high option points for a total of 181. Kelley Farmer and Taken, owned by Jessica Stitt of Elburn, IL, came close to surpassing Colvin in the first round with scores of 84.5 and 88 for a grand total of 180.5 with high option points includeds, but the top spot would remain entirely untouched until Colvin returned to better her top score herself, this time on the back of Inclusive, also owned by Parker.
The Bobby Murphy designed first round course featured 11 obstacles, including four fences with higher jump options. Electing to take all four of the high options, it was over this first round course that Colvin and Inclusive turned in a total score of 188, with scores of 90 from both sets of judges, to take over the lead.
That lead would go utterly untouched the rest of the night, as the top 12 scoring horse and riders returned in reverse order of their position for the handy round.
It was junior rider Meredith Darst who came through in the handy round to edge into the third place position with Tilou, owned by Lochmoor Stables of Lebanon, OH. Darst and Tilou came into the second phase with a scores of 84 and 86, behind Kelley Farmer and Taken, but with a great display of handiness and the utilization of two of the higher fence options Darst and Tilou earned a second round score of 179 – broken down to two scores of 80, plus a total of 15 handiness points and four points for the two higher fence approaches. The duo’s total two-round score of 355 would guarantee their top three finish.
Listen was the first mount Colvin returned to the handy round, and while she already held the first round lead by seven points with Inclusive, Colvin knew she needed to be extra handy to ensure that Listen remained in the top ribbons.
“With Listen I knew I had to go all out,” Colvin explained. “The handy course was good for that. There were lots of places to gallop and places to turn inside and show off your horse. It rode really nicely.”
Those inside turns, gallops and high fence options earned Colvin and Listen second phase scores of 84 and 78 added to 16 handy points and eight high option points, giving the horse and rider combination an overall score of 367.
When it came time for Colvin to return with Inclusive, she knew she only needed a second round combined score of 180 to surpass her overall score on Listen and hold the lead on Inclusive. With that score and the lead easily in her grasp, Colvin took a slightly different and less daring approach with Inclusive.
That strategy paid off. Second round scores of 83 and 94 plus 17 handy points and eight high option points added to their leading first round score for a grand total of 390, guaranteeing the victory gallop for the talented pair.
Following her one-two finish under the lights of the Rolex Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park, Colvin plans to return with both mounts for the $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals held at the Kentucky Horse Park in August. The $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby offers riders a prime opportunity to prepare for the derby final, and the class would not be possible without presenting sponsor Dietrich Insurance.
Five days of top-rated hunter competition came to a close on Sunday, May 12 as the Kentucky Spring Horse Show awarded its final hunter championships in the Junior and Children’s Hunter divisions. Leaving the Kentucky Horse Park with the championship tricolor in the Children’s Hunter 14 and Under division was rider Jane Brooks and her mount Lifeline.
Brooks, a Cincinnati, OH native, always enjoys making the relatively short trip from home to horse show at the Kentucky Horse Park and this weekend was no exception – and with good reason. Brooks and Lifeline came in to the day with a first and third place finish over the previous day’s Children’s Hunter 14 and Under courses, and they earned a score of 84 and the blue ribbon over the first course before being awarded the division championship honors.
Brooks has had Lifeline or ‘Regis’, creatively named for Regis Philbin from the show ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ for nearly three years. Now, under the expert tutelage of David Belford of New Hope Farm LCC in Cincinnati, OH, Brooks is looking forward to advancing to the Junior Hunters with Regis.
The future also looks bright for junior rider, Cloe Hymowitz. Hymowitz swept both the champion and reserve champion awards in the Kentucky Spring Horse Show’s Large Junior 16-17 Hunter division. Hymowitz, a Bridgehampton, NY resident, earned the highest honor aboard Garfield and took the reserve with Perfectionist, both owned by Rose Hill Farms LLC.
Hymowitz started riding Garfield just two months ago when he was purchased from Alexandra Crown, but the pair synced immediately, winning their first class together and seeing continued success since then.
After winning both of the Large Junior 16-17 Hunter over fences classes on Saturday, Hymowitz and Garfield finished first over the first course of the division on Sunday morning. The duo clinched the second place ribbons in both the handy round and the under saddle to guarantee their spot as champions of the division.
The only horse to surpass Garfield in the handy class and the under saddle was Hymowitz’s second mount, Perfectionist. The pair earned a score of 84 over the Skip Bailey designed handy course in the Stonelea Ring to finish with the blue ribbon.
Rounding out the Children’s Hunter championships were Kylie Geddes and Spandau. With Geddes at the reins, the seven-year-old grey gelding swept all four of the Children’s 15-17 Hunter over fences classes to ride away with the victory in the division.
While the Kentucky Spring Horse Show has come to a close, the competition will resume at the Kentucky Horse Park as the Kentucky Spring Classic kicks off on Wednesday, May 15 and runs through Sunday, May 19. This second leg of the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows will feature numerous hunter divisions as well as the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby and the $1,5000 Take2 Thoroughbred Hunter division.
For more information about the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows, please visit http://www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.